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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Clan Weapons

By Dick Lucas

The question asked most often by visitors to my booth has been, "Do you have a sword/weapon that is identified with my clan?" I am not aware of any weapon of any type that can be claimed as being used by a clan and only that clan. There are several swords, axes, etc. that can identified as having been used by a clan member and I have heard there is an axe in a Museum in Edinburgh called the Macpherson axe but I have not been able to find anyone that knows where it is.

Lets look at some of the weapons that may be confused as to being clan weapons. The sword hanging in the pub in Scotland from the Highland series is a reproduction of a museum piece and is readily available to anyone; it is a fiction story. There is a sword being offered with McLeod on it and it is also from the same series. The sword used by William Wallace is one of a kind and is associated with Wallace not the Wallace Clan. The same holds true for the Great Sword of the Bruce Family. The sword of Rob Roy MacGregor hangs in Abbottsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, but it is the sword of Rob Roy not Clan MacGregor.

Many of the baskethilts may be referred to as coming from a certain area such as the Glasgow Baskethilt and the long two handed sword called the Lowlander was a weapon preferred by lowland Scots.

A sword maker in the employment of a Clan Chief may have made weapons for that clan that were similar in appearance because of his method of making swords. For example there are many different styles of the Lochaber Axe all having the distinctive recurved hook inserted in the upper end of the shaft. The Lochaber Axe was a favorite weapon of the Scots in the 16th Century. Another popular weapon was the Berdiche and this referred to almost any type of poleaxe and was used all over Europe for about three centuries.

Most of the Scottish swords with which we are most familiar, the blades were made in Germany. Hilts may have been made in mass quantities, attached to the blades and sold as a completed weapon to armies of Scotland or to clan armies.

If you are looking for a sword or other weapon that may have some relationship to your clan then your best bet is to find a weapon that is associated with a certain area of the UK. Or if your clan served in a certain military unit as a group you can find some weapons that may peculiar to that army unit.

Investigate before buying any weapons purported to be a weapon belonging to a particular clan.

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